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Robotics Is The Future, And There's Now More Help For S'pore Startups In The Sector

In a recent survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson on the Global Future of Work, 48% of employers in the Asia Pacific region believe that they will need fewer employees in the future.

The survey polled 909 companies from around the world, and 507 of them came from Asia Pacific

85% of polled firms who are already using artificial intelligence and robotics also revealed that they plan to expand the use of automation in the next three years.

In Singapore, automation has been “forecasted to account for an average of 29% of all the work being done”.

Just last month, a robot production facility was also launched at Yishun Industrial Park by Singapore precision engineering firm PBA Group and Korean industrial robot company Hanwha Robotics.

The robot being produced by the new facility, the Hanwha Collaborative Robot, is able to “perform simple tasks such as picking and placing items, palletising, screw-driving, polishing and dispensing”, and will help “companies automate manual work as well as cut their investment and operating expenses”.

Hanwha’s Collaborative Robot was launched in 2017

It was also revealed that currently, most robots and automation equipment in Singapore are manufactured overseas, and take “more than months” to arrive in Singapore.

Locally-made robots, on the other hand, can be delivered within four weeks.

As bustling as the sector may be, startups in the industry encounter difficulties especially in the early phases when they don’t have enough funds or experience.

However, help has arrived today for them, and it also involves the PBA Group.

More Support Has Arrived For Robotics And Automation Startups

Today, the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE), a national private sector-led organisation to help drive entrepreneurship in Singapore, and PBA Group’s corporate venture arm Advanced New Technology Incubator (ANTI) announced the launch of the LaunchPad Robotics Centre.

Image Credit: ACE

The launch was graced by Dr. Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry and National Development, who is also ACE’s Patron.

Located at JTC LaunchPad @ one-north, the hub houses around 800 startups and more than 50 incubators from a diverse range of industries.

A majority of the companies currently based there are in the InfoComm and Media sector.

Shared Mr Derrick Yap, Chief Executive Officer of PBA Group, “The LaunchPad Robotics Centre will be an integral part of our efforts to drive the development of the robotics and automation ecosystem in Singapore.”

The display of innovative technologies and solutions will also help to encourage greater industry awareness and developments integral to driving greater overall adoption.

Image Credit: ACE

Mr Edmas Neo, Executive Director of ACE, added, “As the national private sector-led organisation supporting the growth of Singapore’s startup community, ACE is delighted to be working closely with PBA Group, a company with a vast amount of experience in the robotics sector, to help spur the grow and development of more automation focused startups in the ecosystem.”

“This comes at an opportune time as the expected acceleration in growth of the global robotics landscape will present many opportunities for many of our startups here to thrive and flourish.”

Co-Working Space, Access To Tools And Equipment

The Centre will have 3 main components, each playing a different role in encouraging the sector to grow.

First, a Robotics Display Area to showcase various robotics and automation solutions, including those developed by local startups.

Image Credit: ACE

Next, a co-working space for hardware, robotics and automation startups.

With startups sharing the same space, exchange of ideas and mutual learning can take place easily – eventually furthering the progress of the sector.

The third component is called the Maker Space, and provides on-sites tools and equipment supporting early hardware prototyping needs.

The Centre will also “facilitate access to off-site equipment and services at PBA and a range of fabricators and prototyping houses with more sophisticated facilities”.

ACE will also be providing startups business-related support and mentorship, and PBA will provide industry-specific expertise, resources and contacts in the sector.

 

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